Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More on Branscombe

The situation at Branscombe has become nauseatingly symptomatic of what is wrong with the UK. Plundering hoardes have descended on the country's one natural World Heritage site, an area they would never have visited before "free" salvage was there for the taking.

The story of one family who, watching TV, saw people sifting through their "worthless" personal possessions perhaps illustrates why I have little sympathy for those who are stealing salvage. Such activities have always been against the law but were seen as opportunism by coastal communities despite the penalties being far greater than they are today. In fact, one must ask, are there in fact any penalties today?

The police have finally blocked off the beach. This in itself speaks volumes as there is only one easy point of access between Sidmouth and Beer and that is at Branscombe Mouth itself. Travel along the beaches is difficult on foot and ATVs only work at low tide within an individual bay. So the fact that the police stood by and watched all the plunder for several days speaks volumes about the state of law enforcement in Britain.

Judging from the media photos, the mess on the beaches is horrendous and is no doubt a lot worse as a result of the plundering and sifting that has taken place for several days. When I think of friends like Robert, Maureen and Pat who regularly organize end of winter clean ups along the coast, I feel angry and helpless at the thought that the authorities have stood by for too long before intervening.

Just to recap, there is only one road access point to the site. One road block would have seen off most looters carrying away significant merchandise.